blue marble adventure

How to get to Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

The idyllic Havasu Falls are the most famous waterfalls in the American Southwest.  The blue-green waters that thunder from the cliffs draw thousands of people from around the world each year to marvel in a paradise.  Havasu Canyon and its many waterfalls is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and one of the most unique.  We’re often asked how to get to this fabulous fantasyland, so The Goat is here to show you the way.  Let’s go!

First, you must get a permit.  All hikers are required to have a permit for overnight stays.  The Havasupai Tribe manages all reservations and the permit process is handled online.  Go to HavasupaiReservations.com for more information.  Then, you must get to the trailhead to begin the hike.

How to get to Havasu Falls

All hikes to Havasu Falls begin and end at Hualapai Hilltop (the Havasupai trailhead). The trailhead is in a remote location not easy to find if you don’t have good directions. Copy, paste, and print these Havasupai trailhead directions, bring them with you, and follow them closely. Most solid, well-running 2WD cars can make it to the trailhead with little trouble.  There is no camping allowed at the trailhead, so plan to get an early start driving to the trailhead.

Havasupai Trailhead From Phoenix

Drive Time: 4.5 hours

Lodging: We recommend staying as close to the trailhead as possible so you can get an early start the next morning. The best option is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which is 60 minutes from Hilltop (the trailhead).

Directions:

Drive north on I-17 and exit onto AZ-69 N at Exit 262 toward Prescott
After 21 miles merge onto AZ-89 toward Chino Valley
Continue on AZ-89 to I-40 and go west on I-40
Take the I-40 Business Exit, Exit 123, toward AZ-66/Seligman/Peach Springs
After about 22 miles you’ll see the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn on your left (closest lodging to the trailhead)
Keep your eye out for Indian Road 18 heading to the right (north), and turn onto it.
Follow Indian Road 18 for approximately 60 miles, where the road ends at Hilltop (the trailhead)

Havasupai Trailhead From Flagstaff

Drive Time: 2.5 hours

Lodging: We recommend staying as close to the trailhead as possible so you can get an early start the next morning. The best option is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which is 60 minutes from Hilltop (the trailhead).

Directions:

Drive west on I-40
Take the I-40 Business Exit, Exit 123, toward AZ-66/Seligman/Peach Springs
After about 22 miles you’ll see the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn on your left (closest lodging to the trailhead)
Keep your eye out for Indian Road 18 heading to the right (north), and turn onto it.
Follow Indian Road 18 for approximately 60 miles, where the road ends at Hilltop (the trailhead)

Havasupai Trailhead From Las Vegas

Drive Time: 3.5 hours

Lodging: We recommend staying as close to the trailhead as possible so you can get an early start the next morning. The best option is the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn, which is 60 minutes from Hilltop (the trailhead).

Directions:

Take US-93 South from Las Vegas and follow it for 102 miles
At Kingman, merge onto I-40 E/US-93 S toward Flagstaff/Phoenix and stay on for 4 miles.
Take the Andy Devine Avenue exit (Exit 53) toward AZ-66 E/Kingman Airport
Turn left onto US-93 Bus S (E Andy Devine Avenue) and continue to follow E Andy Devine Avenue
E Andy Devine Avenue becomes E Highway 66/AZ-66, and follow this for appx 50 miles
Watch for Indian Road 18 on your left. If you reach Grand Canyon Caverns Inn (on your right), you’ve driven past Indian Road 18. However, we recommend staying at the GCC Inn, which is the closest lodging to the trailhead.
Follow Indian Road 18 for approximately 60 miles, where the road ends at Hilltop (the trailhead)

havasu falls

Hiking to Havasu Falls

The hike to Havasu Falls is 10 miles each way.  Hikers who obtain a permit will be doing a 4 day/3 night trip. This is the only trip duration available for backpackers to Havasu Falls.  Hikers will come in on day 1, and hike out on day 4.  The hike into Havasu Canyon offers classic Grand Canyon scenery, similar to what you may expect on the Bright Angel Trail in the National Park.

The hike meanders on the trail for 7 miles before reaching the village of Supai.  The first 3 miles of this trek offers very little shelter from the sun.  At length, hikers reach the terminus of Hualapai Canyon at the junction of Havasu Canyon, where the famous turquoise waters of Havasu Creek first appear.  From this junction, you have just 1.5 miles to reach the village of Supai.

The Village of Supai

The village of Supai, where the Havasuapai Tribe has made their home for the better part of the last 800 years, is a small and quaint place.  Services are very limited.  There is no cell phone reception (but you probably knew this from the moment your phone lost reception below the canyon rim), and even the mail comes by mule train to this day.

There are some options for supplies, however.  In addition to the campground office,  there is a convenience store stocked with items like chips, jerky, gatorade/water, and other snacks provisions (bacon!).  This a great place to recharge for the last 2 miles of the trek to the campgrounds.  There is also a diner, grocery store, and more in the town, so take a moment to explore.

The Last Leg to the Falls

Departing from Supai, hikers descend for an additional 1.5 miles down Havasu Canyon. Come around a bend, and wait for a figurative punch in the face.  The outstanding scene around the corner, the famous Havasu Falls, comes into view.  Cascading nearly 150 feet over cliffs of travertine, Havasu Falls plunges into the blue-green waters with a thunderous might.   This view alone will make every step of the journey worth it.

If you can, pry yourself away from the mesmerizing view and continue to the campground, a short half-mile beyond the falls.  The campground has running water and trash receptacles, please use them both responsibly (more on this later).  Bringing additional water bladders and water bottles can cut down on the time spent at the faucet.  There is but one faucet, and lines will form at any time of year.  Be smart, plan ahead, save time.

While at the Campground

Havasu Falls and the surrounding area is a very popular place.  Do not come here expecting solitude, or anything that could be considered a “wilderness experience”.  While it is intensely beautiful, it is that beauty that makes it very crowded.  On any given night, during all times of the year, expect to share the campground with somewhere between 300-400 other people.  Also expect a nearly constant din of helicopters landing and taking off, as this has become a very popular method of reaching the falls.

Trash

There are several things you can do while at Havasu Campground to minimize your personal impact.  Rule one:  Pack it in, pack it out.  If you bring it, take it the hell out (please).  Do not flick cigarette butts, toss napkins or do your dishes in the creek.  Do not act a fool.  Over the years, especially as the popularity of this place has grown, guests here have acted fools; don’t be them.

There are trash receptacles at the campground itself, along with more in Supai.  Don’t be one of the rubes who comes to this beautiful place only to treat it as their personal dumping grounds.  Please contribute positively towards a future where everyone that comes here can enjoy its pristine beauty and granduer without having to stare a pools full of popped intertubes, discarded bras, cigarette butts, and beer cans.

Rock Falls havasu canyon

Trail Distances:

Hualapai Hilltop to Campgrounds – 10 Miles

Hualapai Hilltop to Supai – 8 Miles

Supai to Campground – 2 Miles

Campground to Mooney Falls – 0.5 Miles

Mooney Falls To Colorado River – 8 Miles

Beaver Falls havasu falls

Going Guided

****As of 2019, the Havasupai Tribe has placed a moratorium on all commercial guiding into Havasu Canyon.  Due to overwhelming popularity, overcrowding, and lack of regulation, the tribe thought it best to place a hold on all guided tours until a proper management plan can be outlined.  Contact us for information regarding self-guided tours, and other means of support for trips to Havasu Falls.

The Goat’s Final Word

Every hiker dreams of a trip to Havasu Falls.  Reveling in the majesty of this wonderland of crystalline waters is a life-changing experience that is not to be missed.  The challenge is getting here.  The permit process is extremely competitive, which means just getting the opportunity can be hard to come by.  Furthermore, once you get the permit, Havasu Falls is not necessarily an easy place to get to.  It requires good navigational skills and map-reading to get to the trailhead.  Then, a 10-mile hike awaits.  Trust us, it’s worth every bit of the effort.  See you on the trail!

Read our blog!

For adventure hiking vacations in a geologic time machine, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

For geological musings read The Goat’s geology blog.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, See Through Time — Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism